the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

A couple weeks ago a friend and I attended a Savvy Shopper coupon class at Savannah Morning News. In all honesty, when I walked out of that class I thought I had picked up a couple tips. But once I sat down that Sunday with my coupons and sale ads and started putting multiple coupons together per deal, I discovered I had picked up a whole bunch of new tips. What I learned at that class has taken my addiction to coupons to a whole new level and might very well make me a Publix convert as well!
Did you know that Publix accepts competitor coupons? Did you know that if there is a CVSWalgreens, or Rite Aid within three miles of a Publix they, along with any other grocery stores, are considered competitors? Did you know that Publix honors +Up Rewards from Rite Aid, Extra Care Bucks from CVS, and Register Rewards from Walgreen’s up to $5.00? These rewards print at the bottom of your receipt when you purchase specific items. This has solved a small dilemma I was having. First of all, I find drugstore prices extremely high compared to a grocery store, I don’t wear make-up, and rarely fill a prescription. Therefore, I end up shopping at drugstores for specific items that are on sale that I also have a coupon for in order to make the item a decent price. The rewards at the bottom of the receipt often expire in one or two weeks and I found that I was not able to use them if the store didn’t have something I thought was a great deal before the expiration date. Now that I can take those rewards to Publix, I’m able to use all the rewards points I can accumulate!
I also learned that because Publix accepts competitor coupons I can triple my coupons in some cases by stacking a store coupon plus a manufacturer’s coupon plus a competitor’s coupon. AND I learned that if I purchase two items on a BOGO (Buy One Get One) deal, I can also use two coupons (one for each item)! My first shopping trip after that class was the following Saturday at Publix. I walked out of the store with 4 boxes of Ronzoni pasta, 9 cans of Hunt’s tomatoes, 9 cans of Chunky soup, 3 bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, 2 bottles of Spray N Wash, and 4 tubes of John Frieda shampoo. My credit card was charged $10.52 and my savings total was $67.92.
Whew! I highly recommend attending one of these classes. I know there is one being offered locally October 26 at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church but I don’t know how many spaces are available. There seems to be at least one class per week at Savannah Morning News and they are free. By the way, these classes do fill up pretty fast.

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Just a quick post to brag about my September total savings. Now that we’re done with September I’ve added all the grocery receipts. I spent a total of $695.43 and saved $243.63 for a whopping 26% savings! I have basically built my pantry up to the point where the only items I purchase that aren’t on sale AND don’t have a coupon are the necessary perishables such as milk, bread and eggs. I’ve also taught my kids to let me know what snacks they want so that when I have a coupon and the item is on sale I can get them that extra special treat. I am really excited about attending the coupon classthat Savannah Morning News offers this Thursday evening. Hopefully I can increase my savings even more beginning next week!

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

In my original blog I admitted my addiction to trying new recipes along with finding ways to live frugally. I have stumbled upon a recipe that I just have to share. Hopefully you will all like it as much as we do. I found this on which is a blog that includes monthly recipes, grocery lists, and step-by-step instructions for assembling an entire month of meals in one day. All the recipes included for the month are freezer friendly. I really like the concept and plan to incorporate it with my own recipes in the near future. Using this method allows me to buy in bulk, which is definitely cheaper than multiple purchases. It also frees up more time for me to experiment with new recipes. Once the stand-up freezer in my garage is up and running, I’ll blog in more detail about the process.

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 lb. spaghetti, fully cooked and drained
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. hot sauce (more or less, depending on desired intensity. 1/4 c. will be mild to medium in flavor.)
  • 1 c. Ranch or Bleu cheese dressing

1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a skillet with chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken and reserve 1/2 c. cooking liquid.

2. In a saucepan, combine the cream cheese, hot sauce and reserved cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat until the cream cheese is completely melted. While the sauce is cooking, shred or cube the cooked chicken.

3. Add the dressing and chicken to the saucepan, stir to combine, and then toss with the cooked spaghetti.

I tasted this right after I made it and noticed that the heat increased a little after it had been sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours. So if you are making this ahead of time, you might want to keep that in mind.

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Coupons! Did you notice the abundance of coupon circulars in Sunday’s Savannah Morning Newspaper? It must have sounded like Santa had made a surprise appearance in my kitchen as I discovered the treasure chest that had somehow slid its way into this week’s newspaper.
So far this month I have spent $420.48 and saved $70.00 which means I’ve saved 16% just by using coupons combined with sale items. I have to admit the numbers are a little skewed since I spent $112.52 at Sam’s Club and they don’t accept coupons. Since I don’t have any more trips to Sam’s Club scheduled this month, my percentage of savings should increase by the end of the month. In fact, if I re-work the math to show my savings at stores that accept coupons, I’m up to 23% savings.

By the way, in case you’re unaware, Walgreen’s uses an outside company to administer their register rewards program. If you use a coupon with an item that is advertised as a register reward, the register reward does not apply. For example, this week’s ad promoted toothpaste for $2.99 plus a $2.00 register reward. But when I tried to use a coupon, the register reward became invalid.

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Hi. My name is Nikki Palmer and I am an addict. My vices are baking and learning to be frugal. Now please don’t get me wrong … I’m no cake decorator and my dishes rarely turn out picture worthy, but I’m hopelessly addicted to trying new recipes. I mean, hey, just because I love that meatloaf recipe in my box doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try the next one I find because it might be better! My recipe box has more than tripled in size simply because I tried a new recipe and my guinea pigs loved it.

Becoming a coupon clipper has allowed me to test new recipes more often. I can’t wait for Sunday afternoon when I log onto Coupon Mom to print the deals I want to take advantage of. Next I grab scissors, paperclips and every coupon circular I have hoarded over the last few months, and commandeer the kitchen table for a twenty minute immersion into couponing. Here I combine coupons with my selected deals. This system provides for a wide variety of meals so dinner is never boring at our house! Seeing what items I am purchasing this week and taking inventory of what I already have in the pantry helps me create my menu.

Next I look for coupons that will expire this week because it really irks me to pay full price for something when I could have saved at least 55 cents or more! (Remember, Kroger always doubles coupons up to 50 cents.) Then it’s off to the grocery stores. I zoom up and down the aisles grabbing every deal I’ve got a coupon for and checking items off my grocery list. When I get the groceries loaded in the van and can finally look at my amount of savings versus the actual total, well let’s just say I get some pretty strange looks when people hear all the whoopin’ and hollerin’!

Between office hours, helping three children with their homework, and getting everyone to bed at a decent hour, I don’t have much time to cook dinner each weeknight, so Sunday evenings are spent pre-cooking anything possible for the week. While we don’t exactly slip into dreamland with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, it is a great way to head into Monday. I hope you’ll join me in my quest to become more frugal and please feel free to pass along any tips you may have.

Rainy day on the hill

Not much happening today, lots of rain……Good day for coffee, might swing by Hill of Beans for a cup after work.

With no exciting news to discuss this morning, other than the potential auto industry bailout, which should probably be saved for it’s own column, I thought I’d pass on a bit of frugal info that might be useful to someone.

With everyone scrimping and saving this holiday season here’s a tip I just learned about last week. If you have to fly this holiday season, try to do so on a Tuesday. I recently had to take a rather unplanned trip north (above the Mason-Dixon line….It wasn’t all that bad y’all) and shopped air fare for the best rate. I used the website for the first time and found a check box offering to check for the best rates the day before and after my desired arrival/departure date. It turns out that by returning on Tuesday rather than Monday I saved over $300 a ticket. Apparently Tuesday is a slow day for the airline industry and they offer super rates if you travel on this day. I hear that they also offer the same deals for travel on Thursdays but I can’t confirm this as my travel occurred earlier in the week. This may be common knowledge for most of y’all but I found it noteworthy and though I’d pass it along. Hope it helps someone else this year.

That’s all for now.